Recipe-Vegan Zucchini Boats (Low Carb, Gluten Free)

So let me just say I’m not one to skimp on carbs. I never have and I never will. I don’t buy into the myth that carbs are our mortal enemy and I know enough science to understand that our bodies are fueled by carbohydrates. That being said, can limiting your carb intake and eating complex carbohydrates help you lose weight? Absolutely.

After a full blood workup in February, my husband found out he was prediabetic. He’s been vegan for 4 years now and doesn’t even really care for sweets, so he was very upset with this news. Unfortunately, diabetes runs in his family. The advice from the NP was to limit his daily carb intake to 150 carbs per day, or 50 per meal. The thing about my husband is, when you tell him to do something, especially something to prevent diabetes, he’s going to do it full force. I’m pleased to say that he’s since lost nearly 40 pounds and we’re hopeful for his next visit in August.

December 2019
April 2020 (He has lost even more weight than pictured here!)

There’s several things I love about this recipe. First, zucchini is very low carb in addition to being very nutritious. There are only 6 grams of carbs in an entire average sized zucchini. This means one boat only has 3 carbs coming from the zucchini itself! Zucchini helps with digestion, circulation, blood sugar, energy, and weight loss, amongst other things. I also love that none of the zucchini is wasted in this recipe; the insides are scraped out, chopped up, and sauteed with the rest of the filling mixture. The chickpeas are the culprit when it comes to carbs here, but I think they are a must. Not only do they add extra protein, they add great texture. You can use whatever vegan meat and cheese you prefer. My husband loves the Impossible brand because it is definitely the closest thing to real meat that exists, currently. (I can’t eat it unless it’s mixed with a bunch of other things, that’s how real it tastes!) If you’re like me, maybe you would prefer to use the Beyond Meat “ground beef” instead. Still yummy, just doesn’t have that heme flavor that Impossible has patented. Another option that I think would be good is scrapping the meat alternatives completely and substituting cooked lentils. (Or just fill up on chickpeas!) I plan on making a batch just for me this way, as it will considerably increase the carbs per boat. To calculate the carbs per boat, I simply added up the total carbohydrates in each of the ingredients and divided that by the number of boats I made. With my specific brands of vegan meat, cheese, and tomato sauce, along with obviously the chickpeas and 3g from the zucchini, each boat was approximately 26 grams of carbs! When you realize how filling these are, you’ll be even more impressed with that number.

While I’m not personally going to count carbs for my meals, I have been counting and estimating carbs per meal for his. Eating 150 carbs per day is by no means starving your body of nutrients and it is not the keto diet. He simply consumes a vegan/low carb diet, and it has worked incredibly well for him. If anything, it got me looking up low carb, vegan recipes, which inspired me to heavily modify one I found, giving you the recipe below.

So whether you want to fully embrace a low carb lifestyle, or you’re a carbaholic, like myself, I think you’ll really enjoy these flavorful vegan zucchini boats.


3 medium size zucchinis, washed, ends chopped off

1 tablespoon olive oil

3 cloves minced garlic

1 can chickpeas drained and rinsed

1 tablespoon soy sauce

2 teaspoons hot sauce

1 teaspoon onion powder

1/2 teaspoon cumin

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1 package vegan ground meat substitute

1/2 cup tomato or spaghetti sauce

Parsley and red pepper flakes for garnish

Recipe makes 6 boats


Preheat oven to 425F

Cut each zucchini in half length wise.

Heat the olive oil in a large pan and toss in your minced garlic.

Scoop out the insides of each zucchini half. I like to use an ice cream scoop. Set aside the big chunks. When I begin to scrape the zucchini, I do it directly over my oil and garlic, as the pieces are small enough and it’s just easier!

Dice up the chunks of zucchini.

Add it to your garlic and olive oil pan and give it a stir.

Drain and rinse your chickpeas.

Stir them into your pan.

Stir in soy sauce and hot sauce.

Add all your spices and stir until mixed.

Next, add your favorite meat substitute.

Break it up with your spoon into very small pieces. Meat substitutes do not take as long to brown as normal ground beef, so watch it closely. You will be able to see when it’s cooked through, as it heavily resembles beef. This is why I add it towards the end of cook time, as well.

Add your tomato sauce.

Stir very well and let simmer for about five minutes to let the flavors mingle. You can taste a small bite and add more hot sauce, if you like heat, or more of any other spices you want. I usually add a little more black pepper because it’s my favorite.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place your hollowed out zucchini boats on it. Slowly spoon the filling into the zucchini until it is full. I suggest filling them all up and then going back and topping them off. You want them to be heaping. You should use just about all of the filling.

Top the boats generously with vegan mozzarella cheese of your choice and bake for 20 minutes, or until zucchinis are tender. In this case, I used Violife, but Follow Your Heart and So Delicious are good choices of vegan cheese brands, too.

I like to top with parsley and red pepper flakes before enjoying.

Enjoy you low carb, vegan, gluten free meal!

Author: thevegtablevegan

Becoming vegan has been a life changing experience for me. Cutting back on animal products gives us the ability to change the world in so many ways. I started this blog to have all of my favorite recipes handy when someone asks, "What do you eat?" I am by no means a professional photographer, but I always enjoy visually seeing a recipe, so I do like to include pictures. I'm a busy, stay at home mommy, but try to find the time to add new recipes. I hope to offer delicious and easy plant-based recipes for those who are having trouble transitioning, already vegan, or simply want to incorporate a few vegan meals here and there. 🙂

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